5 Social Tricks for Introverted Travel Nurses


5 Social Tricks for Introverted Travel Nurses

by Alana Luna, contributor

As solitude-seekers in a profession that requires heavy interaction, introverted nurses face almost constant pressure to come out of their shells. Between the need to connect with other nurses on the job and a desire to make friends while on assignment, travel nurses can benefit from social tricks that help them balance their desire for peace and quiet with their ambition for bigger and better things.

1. Start with simple goals

Sometimes change happens slowly, and that's okay. Rather than putting pressure on yourself to suddenly transform into an extrovert, take on one small task every day, or even one per week. Those tasks could include something like:

  • Talk to one new person
  • Have coffee with a random coworker
  • Choose to sit with a group at lunch rather than by yourself
  • Ask a fellow athlete to meet you for some one-on-one basketball or a run

2. Bring a buffer

Stressful social situations are easier if you have a human security blanket to ease the transition. As a travel nurse, you're unlikely to have your BFF in tow, but if you make one friend in your new city, you have at least one person with whom you can walk into a work mixer or invite along on a platonic lunch date.

Keep in mind, though, that your buddy is there to ease the way, not act as your spokesperson or minder. Push yourself to engage in the conversation, even if it's a few small interjections here and there rather than a leading a discussion that would make you the center of attention.

3. Become a master of deflection

If you're not comfortable talking about yourself, learn how to ask open-ended questions that invite others to unwittingly do the majority of the heavy lifting. Ditch trite openers and instead pick a few conversation starters that are a bit more outside the box:

  • What show are you currently obsessed with?
  • How do you deal with on-the-job stress?
  • What's your favorite way to waste time?
  • Where did you go on your last vacation?
  • What is your favorite travel nursing location to date?
  • What's the strangest dream you've ever had?
  • What's one thing you never leave the house without?
  • If you could pick one word or phrase from the past to bring back, what would it be?

Bonus: Studies show that people like it when others ask them questions, so your quest for social self-preservation could actually improve your standing.

4. Don't let social tricks derail your alone time

Being an introvert is who you are, and it's okay — great, even — to honor that part of yourself. Forcing your own participation in social events to the point of anxiety and skyrocketing discomfort is a recipe for disaster. Expecting change overnight, especially change that goes against an innate personality trait, will lead to stress and potentially debilitating side effects ranging from agitation and depression to chest pain and digestive issues.

Alternate bold moves like an RSVP to a networking event with activities that make you happy. It doesn't matter if that's a nice quiet night at home, a solo shopping trip to a bookstore or a day exploring a park or other local attraction, just feed your soul without worrying about anything but your own well-being.

5. Recognize that introversion is not a flaw — nor is it rare

Approximately one-third of people self-identify as introverts. That's quite a few people who value their alone time, but introversion is not black and white, either. Think of it more like a sliding scale — no one is completely introverted and extroverted, and it's common for someone to see-saw back and forth between the two and have moments when they feel far more one or the other.

If you long for friends or wish you knew your colleagues better, by all means aim for change. But don't beat yourself up for who you are. Legendary visionaries such as Charles Darwin, Dr. Seuss and Steve Wozniak prove that introverts can change the world. Embracing your comfort zone could have incredible results.

The best way to create more extroverted habits is to practice them as often as you can. Every new travel opportunity is another chance to expand your skill set and even reinvent yourself. To take the next step toward your character shift, check out the nursing jobs at NursingJobs.com and find your next adventure.


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